Breaking down

Feb 7, 2002

I binged on a pan of brownies today; I just couldn’t stop myself from stuffing my mouth with this moist, chewy dessert. But all last month, as part of my New Year’s slate of resolutions, I refrained from eating chocolate. It was hard, I tell you, for I am addicted to chocolate. I’ve long eaten a chocolate candy bar a day, though since arriving in Carrboro, I’ve taken to buying a chocolate-filled croissant from the Weaver Street Market. As 2002 neared and I noticed a few extra pounds around my midsection and a few more minutes on my running pace, I decided I needed less chocolate and no more soda, so I quit for the month of January. As soon as January was finished, though, I was back to chocoloate: hot chocolate, O’Henry bars, chocolate croissants, Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream, and today, brownies. I am addicted.

In Idaho, my father would slow the car to an emergency halt whenever we came near the Bob’s Big Boy, and since the car needed some time to “cool down,” we would trudge into the diner for fifty-cent hot fudge sundaes. I have fond memories of the stainless steel sundae containers, and the vanilla ice cream and whipped cream that would dribble down their chilled sides. Sometimes, when one sundae wasn’t enough, Mom and Dad would allow me to order a mini sundae, just nearly one spoonful of ice cream.

Later on, when I was in college, I visited my parents on the island of St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. While Dad was at work and Mom and the brothers at school, I wandered the alleys of Charlotte Amalie, and I made it a habit to stop into the Caribbean Chocolate Shop to buy a handful of chocolates. I unwrapped these as I scouted the mini bottles of booze in the duty-free alcohol shops. For some reason I was obsessed with these tiny bottles, even though I didn’t drink. After lunch, I caught a taxi to Magen’s Bay, where I lounged on the beach reading the collected Sherlock Holmes stories. The grill at Magen’s Bay made delicious chocolate milk shakes, naturally.

On Paama Island, where Erin and I served in the Peace Corps, our friend Enna loved to take me to the cacao trees in the bushes behind Liro Village. Enna would climb a cacao tree and cut half a dozen cacao pods and drop them to me. Then together we’d sit on the cement wall in front of our house and suck on the sweet pulp around the cacao seeds. “I wish I knew how to make chocolate from these,” I’d think.

Anton Zuiker

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